by Eddie Rayner

The term STEM (acronym for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) was a popular buzzword in the academic circle since the beginning of the 21st century.

It gained traction in its early days as the most competitive companies across economies centered on technological innovation – which made knowledge of these disciplines’ desirable from an employment point of view.

As such, the subjects gathered increased focus in mainstream education to equip the youth with future job ready skills. Even today, these science-based skills are desirable coupled with the fact that technically oriented job profiles form the most attractive career prospects.

Despite the attractive career opportunities, many students are still not naturally inclined to learn the subjects – due to a lack of connection they feel on their part.

Statistically, in a study conducted by Microsoft; only 1 out of 5 STEM college students felt that their K–12 learning prepared them for their college courses in STEM. 

This reality is what has led to an evolution in the approach to learning, and we are now at a junction where the focus from STEM is fast merging to STEAM.

What is STEAM Education?

STEAM is a progression of STEM, with the additional element of ART. It stands for Science Technology Engineering Arts and Mathematics.

STEAM curriculum doesn’t imply that the Arts subjects need to displace the focus on hard sciences. Instead, it encourages simultaneous focus on creative abilities to make the analytical learning more fun, sticky, and accessible.

As a fact, STEAM education is very relevant when it comes to primary children. Young learners typically have short attention spans, and so integrating Arts into their mainstream curriculum makes the scientific learning less intimidating and much more approachable. It also enables them to better apply concepts in real life.

A simple way by which art-based teaching methods manage to engage children is through visuals and audio formats. This makes the technical study material appear less restrictive and generates greater interest. The hands-on activities and room for creativity opens up their mind and makes them better equipped to understand Science, Technology, Engineering and so on more easily.

Benefits of STEAM Learning for Children

The following are some of the key benefits of STEAM for primary learners —

1. Development of Independent Thinking Abilities

As mentioned, STEAM learning is designed to encourage thinking and evaluation skills in children.

The results of STEAM education are not measured entirely as right or wrong, but also in terms of the thought process. This makes the subjects feel less risky and allows children greater freedom to experiment and make mistakes without fear of failure. The result is significantly improved independent thinking abilities.

2. Creative Problem-Solving Skills

Hardcore technical skills are highly desirable in the employment world. However, at the same time, it is the creative, out of box thinking skill that is most valuable.

Many people feel that creativity is an inherent individualistic characteristic. However, fact is that creativity needs to be nurtured, and a well-rounded STEAM curriculum significantly helps to sharpen that.

STEAM education allows for open ended, creative exploration. This helps children develop curiosity and critical thinking abilities.

Specifically, it’s the flexibility to look outside fixed procedures that enhances their problem-solving skills.

3. Improved Well Being

There exists evidence suggesting that focusing on arts in any of its forms enhances mental, emotional, and physical wellness. Intuitively, when learning is combined with nurturing creativity, the automatic result is higher interest and engagement in studying.

In essence, incorporating ARTS into STEM is a step in the direction to help students learn better and emerge as both creative and analytical thinkers. 

If you wish to ignite the interest of your young learners in STEM subjects, Nahla wa Nahil is a great and proven starting point. Along with developing a strong base in Arabic literacy that enhances language abilities, the platform is loaded with lots of exciting reading material.

The library covers books from different subject areas such as Science, Computer Science, Environment, Concepts, Animals, Culture, Biographies, Encyclopedias – available in exciting audio formats as well to help children read, listen, and learn with greater interest.

Moreover, the content on the platform is PYP compliant. This makes it highly compatible for teachers to use it as supporting material. It allows them to help primary children relate better with their mainstream curriculum of math, science, arts, technology, and so on, in an engaging way.